Monday, November 12, 2007

Time to be a kid again. . .

When I was a little kid, a portable roller-rink came to my little-bitty home town each summer and, to me, that was just about the most exciting thing in the whole wide world.

I still remember the name: Henke Roller Rink.

It was basically a wooden surface underneath a big canvas tent with open sides. It was always erected just a few blocks from our house, and I would just about be beside myself during those few days while it was being constructed.

Waiting . . .
Waiting . . .

Then! I’d notice some skaters underneath the tent, signaling that it was open and ready to use. My dad or mom would give me a quarter for the skate-rental and a nickel for a bottle of pop and off I’d go. (That was back in the days when little kids could venture a few blocks from their house, unaccompanied).

I’d skate just as fast as I could, feeling the wooden surface rattling under my wheels. I was a little bat-outta-hell on wheels.

Then, after getting all sweaty, I’d take a break and buy a Grape Nehi from the ice-bin behind the counter. Believe me, soda-pop never tasted so good as at the skating rink, underneath the canvas tent on a hot summer day.

They played music on a record player over a tinny loudspeaker. I think the only song they had was “On the Bayou.”

Saturday or Sunday mornings were the best times to skate. I’d practically have the place to myself. Saturday nights were the worst because it would be packed with rowdy high school kids.

Now, I’m excited again, because in two days, the ice rink opens at Millennium Park. I just dashed to my boss’s office window which looks down on the rink and there’s ice on the rink! And Zamboni tracks!

Waiting. . .
Waiting. . .

Things have changed a bit though. I much prefer ice skating because I don’t like the heat. Skate rentals are $9.00 instead of a quarter. (I have my own skates though, so it’s free, thank you very much).

Instead of Grape-Nehi for a nickel, it’s a Starbuck’s latte or cocoa for $3.50.

Instead of music coming out of a tinny speaker, I have my iPod that plays a combination of 70’s disco and Baroque adagios.

But some things never change. I still like having the place to myself on a Saturday morning and avoid the place on Saturday nights. Those high-school kids are still way too rowdy.

It’s good to be a kid again.

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At 5:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My memories of the roller rink are not as fond. I fell down a lot and had to hold onto the wall the whole time.

At 9:00 PM , Blogger Iwanski said...

We walked past the rink yesterday and remarked how happy we were for you that it was almost ready.

At 12:10 AM , Blogger Kimberly Ann said...

Ah, I wish that I could ice skate. Never got the hang of it, but it always looks like so much fun.

At 1:13 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

I'm with JP on the roller rink memories. And I've never tried ice skating...can't wrap my mind around the physics of staying upright on 2 blades while skimming a slick surface. But I'll get a latte and watch you have fun.

At 1:22 PM , Blogger Buck said...

JP: At least that got you out of having to skate and hold hands with a girl.

Iwanski: We all have to go skating soon. After drinks.

KA & Lor: We are SO going skating when I come out to Seattle.

At 1:10 AM , Blogger Lorraine said...

We SO are not. Do you not read these comments?


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